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Warez - A Rebuttal
Alright. Well, I'm not one to flame but the email below gets me as close to
that feeling as I think I can go...
Nonetheless, here are my non-flame, hopefully rational, comments... (and
sorry for their length)...
I DISAGREE STRONGLY WITH THE ATTITUDES THAT SUGGEST THAT IT'S OKAY TO STEAL
Please allow me to make my case... let's take Gregor's comments below in
He says a lot of folks couldn't make music if it weren't for free software.
My response is that we always get those things we truly want... you'd pay
for the software if you *had to* because you love making music. You'd
a way to buy it or "coerce" someone into buying it for you. :-) The
temptation is software that is very easy to steal - and the reality is that
we simply *justify* not paying money for it because it's easy to do so and
we want to keep that money for ourselves. That's really what's happening...
I wonder how many of you are fully taking in that deep thought? If Gregor
couldn't steal software like he can't steal hardware, he'd find a way to
what he needed if he loved music enough. He found a way to buy the hardware
right? So, it's that simple. C'mon folks - we are not talking thousands of
dollars here! Is there anyone who would disagree with this?
Then he says he wants to test the software and that justifies piracy. Well,
okay, I don't entirely disagree with this idea of testing... I've been
ripped off by software (and hardware) that didn't do what it promised. And
because we live in an age where retail stores won't even let you return
opened software, we're stuck. I say there should be some protection for us
as consumers. OTOH, how long is an appropriate testing period? My guess is
that Gregor has probably been "testing" some of his software for years. I
definitely don't think that's right. I think there comes a time, usually
about a month or so down the road, when you realize that you *like* this
software and you know you're going to continue to use it. That's the time
Gregor says that the folks who make and sell pirated software are the ones
who are stealing. Let me tell you something, Gregor... stealing is when you
take something for your own that doesn't belong to you. Now, I don't deny
that the commercial pirates are stealing, but I say to you point blank --
*YOU* are stealing too! The difference between you and them is one of
degree, not of kind.
Let me tell all of you something: *People* create software. *People* who
have kids, and mortgages, and bills to pay. Good people. *People* you'd
if you ever met them. *People* like you. They may love what they do, as Tim
noted in another email, but is this a reason to pay them any less? I don't
think so. If they love what they do, so much the better, because they'll
likely create better products. If anything, we should be paying them more!
But, my gosh, let's not penalize them just because they do their job well!
Can you see that this is, effectively, what you're doing? I challenge you
take a moment and think about this now.
Gregor argues that he's a "bedroom musician" and so his theft doesn't hurt
anybody. But if no one paid then there wouldn't be any software right? So
somebody has to pay. Who gave any of you theives out there the right not to
have to pay, while I have to? What makes you better than me? Aren't we all
fundamentally equal as human beings? It's a selfish, arrogant person who
Software piracy is such a big problem that software prices have to be
to compensate for the lost revenues resulting from piracy. In this sense,
Gregor, you and the others are not only stealing from the software
companies, you are *also* stealing from those of us who pay money for the
software, because we're paying more than we would otherwise have to. You're
stealing from your fellow musicians. Did that ever occur to you? I don't
know about the rest of you, but I don't like being put in this position.
To those of you who use pirated "warez" on a regular basis, I say this to
you: I question your ethics. What you are doing is wrong and, if you carry
it through to it's logical conclusion, it inevitably leads to a double
standard too - another ethical issue. Who wants to be mired in all this
crap? Let me give you an extreme example: let's imagine for a moment that
Gregor writes a song and it becomes a #1 hit worldwide. However, Gregor
doesn't make one red cent off of his incredibly good fortune because
everyone pirates his song and no one pays for it. Can anyone honestly say
me that Gregor is going to happy with this? Is it going to be okay because
individuals did the theft and not some deep-pocket corporation? Of course
not! Gregor's going to be screaming bloody blue murder for his money! He
will definitely want to be paid, won't he? And wouldn't you? And yet... how
is this different from the software piracy issue? The only thing that's
different is that little Gregor is now losing some money. You know, in this
situation, the tune he will sing will be different from that espoused in
Remember also that software developers expect to be paid for their work,
just like *we* do. And it's fair to exchange something of value with each
other right? You do it every time you drop into a McDonalds, buy a car or
see a movie. So why shouldn't the developers be paid? I say to you all:
what's wrong with caring about these people too? Are we all so concerned
with ourselves and our needs that we simply can't do the right thing?
anything without paying for it is stealing, plain and simple... and that's
I have found that a life without some sense of personal integrity is an
unsatisfying life. We only pass this way once, and other human beings,
including software developers, have such an incredible capacity to enrich
the lives we lead and make them more meaningful. For all of you on this
list, your own lives are made more enjoyable because of the music you play
and the software you use.
But how can you write honest music if you are not an honest person?
Where is the *artiste* in you folks? Wouldn't you feel a little better if
your music wasn't tainted through it's creation with stolen software? I
suggest that the good feeling you get from doing the right thing can
your music... can you, too, see how it could become more joyful, more
honest, more "in tune" because you yourself are? Isn't it inevitable?
Moreover, I'll also suggest that it's when the money is hardest to come by
that you stand to make the largest deposit to your personal integrity
account by buying the software you use to do that which you love. You'll be
repaid tenfold by the terrific boost in self-esteem you'll get - and you
legally use the software too. For some of you, the difference in your music
might be night and day...
I remember when I got my first Macintosh in 1984. I went to a user group
meeting expecting to find out more about this wonderful new computer I had.
Instead, I found a bunch of guys sitting around copying software as fast as
they could. The second meeting I went to I brought a bunch of disks too and
I made my copies. Sometime after that, I actually sat down and thought
what I was doing. I mean, folks, I *actually sat down and thought about
this*. I realized that what I was doing was wrong.
I hope at least one of you will sit down and think about this as I did. I
mean... just get off by yourself in some quiet section of your home and
think about this for a few minutes. Do it now. And if you do - if you are
honest with yourself and have some sense of personal integrity - you'll
reach the same conclusion I have. I suggest that there is only one logical
result to be had:
* Stealing is an ethical and a legal issue... and stealing is wrong.
* When you *use* software that you have have not paid for, you are
I ask each of you: How do you want to live your life? What kind of person -
and musician - do you want to be?
> I just wanted to say that it shouldn't matter if somebody bought the
> software or just got it from a warez site. I think there are quite some
> facts that speak for warez. The first point would be that a lot of people
> couldn't make music if there wouldn't be cracked software. I'm not
> to buy all the programs i use because the prices are just to
> high. So, if i
> would stick to the stuff i could buy, guess then i would have to use that
> piano site for making music (and we really don't want that, do we?:)))
> The other thing is that we have the possibility to test things. I think
> software in general is sort of a user phenomenom. Most of the
> software has a
> lot of bugs. Would anybody buy a t-shirt with a hole or a car which could
> have general protection fault?:))
> What I don't agree with is, that pirates are making profit with
> selling the
> software. That's were IMO the stealing lies. In china they copy and print
> the cds which look like the original and they sell it as an
> original!! that
> is wrong. The software companies all in all don't want to get
> bothered with
> a bedroom musician. If I copy a program, I don't cause any damage
> to anyone,
> because I wouldn't buy it anyway (because of the reasons
> mentioned earlier).
> So if we put in a little of economic science, the society net wealth
> would be higher as I would feel better and no one would be damages. "the
> allocation" would be pareto efficient. (sorry got carried away because of
> the exams).